The Hellenistic Period Essay example

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The death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC marks the beginning of the Hellenistic Period and covers 300 years to the invasion of Egypt by the Romans. The word Hellenic refers only to the Greeks, but the term Hellenistic refers to `the Greek-influenced societies that arose in the wake of Alexander's conquest' (Sacks, 105). The Hellenistic world extended from Greece all the way to Afghanistan and resulted in the beginning of the mass spreading of Greek culture. Its central characteristics were the mass empires created by Alexander and his successors, the mingling of Greek and other cultures and the diffusion of religions

The conquests of Alexander the Great

Alexander won a reputation for military genius when he became king of
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Antigonus ruled over Asia minor, Macedonia and Thrace and in 306 BC he declared himself king of the Macedonians "The Seleucids moved to control and reform the pre-existing Persian bureaucracy, installing Greek officials and switching from clay tablets to parchment and from cuneiform to Greek or Aramaic" (Stewart, 2004).. Antigonos' attempts to take control of the whole of Alexander's empire led to his death. His son, Demetrius managed to regain control of Macedon a few yeas later but lost his throne and died in prison.

Ptolemaic dynasty

Ptolemy 1 Soter proclaimed himself king of the Ptolemy kingdom of Egypt in 305 BC. He was a man of great culture and learning and under his leadership his capital Alexandria became and "important cultural center and its museum was the first known and its library was the largest in the ancient world" (Arcadia, 2004). He was also the author of a lost history of Alexander's campaign. The dynastic history is confusing because all the male rulers took the name Ptolemy and many married their sisters who were often called Cleopatra.

Seleucid dynasty

Seleucus 1 was made Satrap of Babylonia where he later declared himself king. His kingdom stretched from eastern Anatolia and Syria into what is now Pakistan. He met with much opposition because there were many different ethnic groups. They were accustomed to being ruled by local rulers and so did not adjust very well to being ruled